Another Introduction

I find it impossible to introduce myself in writing to strangers, telling them a little bit about me in a way that helps them understand who I am. I worry about the  image my self-description creates.

knit

WTF?

I’m certainly not a gray-haired granny knitting booties from a rocker but I do have nine grandchildren. I don’t knit, though. I try it every couple of years. My fingers are too fat. The work is mindless. The instructions are the stuff of metaphysical science and I can’t understand them.

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Can We Be A Teeny Bit Realistic Here?

I wrote this article some time ago in response to the big, big, huuuuge news that a famous rich guy threatened to grab a woman’s vagina.  My shock about the statement was not so much that a famous, rich guy would say such an uncouth thing, but that people all over the world would be so completely immobilized by it. I’m no cream puff when it comes to insults and shock value and I get that the media needs, thrives on, and seeks out the most salacious tidbits of life in order to gain viewers/readers and thereby cash in on advertising dollars, but the intensity of the (faux?) shock set me back a bit. Exactly where do these delicate, tender souls live?  In a convent?

I get it.  Famous rich guys who assume they can have their way with women are insulting, presumptuous, and boring.  Left unchecked, they can be dangerous. My own shock over the whole thing, however,  is that after years and years of changing the landscape for women, teaching empowerment, raising girls to be strong, independent, and basically allowing them to write their own script when it comes to goals and aspirations, there remains such a large contingent of trembling, ready-made victims.

Either way.  I know this article may lose me some readers, offend a handful of my friends, and possibly, outright piss off some people I like a lot. I also assume women my age will nod and think back to some of the horrendous treatment we received because of our vaginas. I’m posting it anyway. Then, I’m off to kickboxing class. I refuse to be afraid


butterflyIf you define sexual assault as a man who says he wants to grab your Pu**y, you’re either stupid or you’ve never survived an actual sexual attack by an actual predator.  It’s way different. Trust me. I go back and forth between feeling offended by your careless disregard for the Real Thing to feeling sorry for you for being so deeply, completely, absolutely, and in several cases, willfully stupid.

Being overpowered by brute force or blind obedience to authority and then violently raped or sexually violated just has a whole different kind of feeling than hearing some asshole talk about grabbing a vagina.  At least in my way of thinking.

Truth be told, and I’m sure I’m not alone here, I’ve had men tell me—up close and personal—that they’d like to grab my various reproductive/potty parts. My reaction to the shocking statement(s) depended on many variables, including but not limited to, my age, my level of intoxication, my mood at that moment, how fat I thought I was at the time, and no less important a consideration, whether the awkward oaf was a viable candidate for later consideration. Rainy day planning and whatnot. Continue reading

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Middle Fingers and Corn Dogs

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Happy Birthday Lily Belle

Today is Lily Belle’s 6th birthday so I joined her at Kindergarten to eat lunch.  The “special” table was full so we sat with the regular people.  It’s also Frozen Friday so we chose ice cream sandwiches for our treat.

Once we sat down I noticed Ms. Ratched, the lunchroom and #walkdontrun monitor was walking  towards us so I said, pretty loud, “Lily, since it’s your birthday you get to eat your ice cream first!”  Lily replied, “I know! Yay!” Ms. Ratched slowed her giddyup just long enough to shoot me a scalding glance but obviously thought better of correcting me before she sped off to find another rule breaker.

One of my favorite events at school lunches is when Ms. Gable counts down from three to zero, at which point there is either total silence in the room or, and I’ve never actually USA: Demonstrators March In National Day Of Action On Immigrant Rightsseen this play out, some kind of hell to pay.  All of my grand kids enjoy this little activity as much as I do and we sit with our arms raised and follow along, folding down each of three fingers until we are left with a fist in the air.  Silence Power!

Two tiny children sat across from us and seemed to be enjoying the activity as well—maybe even more than us.  When talking was allowed again, the tiny boy leaned towards me and confided, “She (pointing to the tiny, grinning girl beside him) has her middle finger up.  That’s a bad word!”

Lily, ever her father’s child, dabbed her napkin against her chin, shoved another bite of ice cream sandwich in her mouth and asked me why a middle finger is a bad word.  I said I didn’t know.  I shrugged.  “Some people just think that,” I told her.

birdTiny Boy assured me that IT IS A BAD WORD! and said he was going to tell Ms. Gable. Middle Finger Girl grinned as Tiny Boy watched her hands under the table, presumably flipping him off, his eyes wide with a consuming and absolute joy.  Lily peeked under the table and shrugged.  My exact sentiment about the whole middle finger debacle. “I’m Telling!!” Tiny Boy said, over and over again.  He looked at me, likely for advice and backup.  I shook my head.  I advised him not to tell.  “Just eat your lunch,” I told him. He raised his tiny arm and looked around desperately for some other adult.  Ms. Ratched, perhaps.  For sure Ms. Ratched would want to know about Middle Finger Girl.  I leaned towards Tiny Boy.  “Nah…put your arm down.  Don’t be a fink.”  Middle Finger Girl grinned my way.  Apparently now bored with the whole thing, she dunked her burnt corn dog in a glop of ketchup. I told the Tiny people it was Lily’s birthday and they were pretty excited about that.  “I’m six!” Lily told them.

Before I could finish my burnt pizza, Lily interrupted the meal with an unscheduled tour of the condiment table, advising me to hold my tray under the ranch dressing pump whilecatinterest she pushed the silver knob down.  “Watch this!!” she told me. The Condiment Monitor eyed us, blank faced. Unimpressed. I told Lily I loved the ranch thing.  She grinned at me. “Yeah, me too,” she said. The Condiment Monitor coughed/grunted which I took to be an attempt at laughter or feigned interest in our delight. No need.

We realized too late that lunchtime was over and Lily had not eaten any of her crunchy corn dog. The Trashcan Monitor reached for her tray and said, “All finished?”  I advised him that she was not finished and he snapped his hand back, grabbed the trashcan handle and marched off to line it up with the others. He shot me a look from the trashcan lineup.

Lily worried about eating in the hallway as we tried to catch up with her classmates who were lined up and wandering towards a classroom.  Ms. Ratched lead the little people in  straight rows, reminding them over and over and over again to keep their hands to themselves and stay in line and “Stop touching people Miranda!”  and, of course, “WALK DON’T RUN!!”

Lily managed to get about half the corn dog bitten off the stick and somewhat chewed by the time we reached the front doors.  She handed me the stick with the remaining chunk of dried up, would-be corn dog and smiled up at me, mashed hot dog and bits of sugary cornbread spilling out of her mouth.  I told her happy birthday and kissed her tiny nose and she skipped down the hall with her tiny friends.  Happy Birthday Lily Belle.

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Lily gazing at Luz’s birthday cake

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Justice: Another Commodity in the Brotherhood of Men

Twenty minutes

Rapist and the Rapist’s father

Rape: the Inconvenient Crime

I am just a tiny bit skeptical about all the brouhaha over the bug-eyed, chinless rapist with his little swimmer’s hair Afro.  The one who got nearly a free pass for raping a 23-year-old unconscious woman. After all, both parents of the rapist have expressed how sad and depressed he is after the raping.  He hardly smiles anymore, they said. He’s too delicate to survive in prison, his mother told the judge.  He’s even taken on the “binge-drinking” cause and plans to let others know what a bad thing it is to consume copious amounts of alcohol. Violent rape is hardly worth mentioning but binge drinking is a really bad idea. His family is really proud of him for taking this on. Bless their hearts. Continue reading

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I’m Hangry. Please Don’t Jack Around

WARNING:  I’m a big fan of foul language. The following post includes a pinch of spicy and green leafy cuss words. Please avoid this article if you have delicate sensibilities.recipes1

 

Dear Foodie Blogger,

For the love of God, please choose  – preferably in the advanced planning stages before launching your wonderful new blog, whether you are a storyteller, photographer, or, and this is a big one…a fucking cook.  Because here’s the thing:  YOUR BLOG CAN’T BE ALL THREE.  At least not very well.  And definitely not if you want me to subscribe and tell all my friends about it.

I get it.  I know what you are trying to do.  I’ve seen it done well but not often, and not unless you can legitimately add graphic artist to your resume and know how to skillfully design a page with photos of sumptuous food logically arranged around the ACTUAL RECIPE IN A READABLE FORMAT. That’s a lot of work for the average Foodie blogger.  Try not to get too fancy about it.  If you don’t pay a large staff to do everything except the cooking, just post the recipe with a few photos of the finished product. Really. That’s all you need. If you absolutely must write a 17-paragraph narrative about the recipe, maybe do it after you’ve posted the ingredients and cooking directions.  A couple of people will be interested.  Not me but maybe some others.

I love and enjoy each of these specific blog genres  – storytelling, photography and cooking –  but when combing them, if they each carry equal weight, what you end up with is a blog that is, at first glance, big and beautiful and envy-inducing, “Oh my God I wish my hot dogs looked this pretty!”  On further inspection, however,  when I’m trying to find the actual recipe, if the blog becomes complicated and confusing because I’m spending way too many of my expensive minutes searching and scrolling and clicking and pressing arrows to find the F&(*ing  ingredients or oven temp, you’ve lost me in a mad fury. Continue reading

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TBT: Swimming With The Fishes

I haven’t written anything I can publish for public consumption lately but I came across a photo I promised to share with Sir Ozzy a long time ago.

It’s a photo of me fishing with my Uncle Joe a thousand years ago in the Florida Keys.  Joe was my dad’s brother, the two of them formidable members of the Fighting Bell Boys and along with the third member of this obscure but infamous trio, is retired to the great beyond. At least two of the Fighting Bell Boys are remembered with some measure of fondness.  My father isn’t one of those.

The boat was rumored to be owned by Jimmy Hoffa (uncle Joe had connections, he told me).  I ate a  raw shrimp on a dare that day.  All sailors eat raw shrimp, the fishermen told me. Looking back I realize it was just another cruel joke I fell for in my youth – never one to pass up a challenge of my grit and determination to fit in… somewhere.

I don’t have bad memories of this particular trip – it’s all part of the strange texture of my life.

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Be sure to check out Sir Ozzy’s blog for fun stories about his travels.

**I forgot to add that I caught several of those fish on the table there.  My stomach was black and blue the  next day from the fishing pole.**

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Nursing. It’s for Other People

shotI wrote this short piece for my blogroll blog and I don’t have many followers over there so I thought I’d drop a link here to share a quick story.  Also there is a link to one of my favorite bloggers (nutsrok).

 

 

I encouraged and consoled and used my best confidence-building pep talks during these calls but I worried.  I was out of my league. I could no more be a nurse than fly to the moon.  I lack empathy.  Continue…

 

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“Other” Lane Discovered in Leavenworth County

 

screamerLeavenworth County, Kan. –Reports early Saturday afternoon indicate unusual behavior for drivers headed south on Kan. Highway 7, just outside of Lansing, Kansas.  Several witnesses called the station with similar reports of Leavenworth County (LvCo) drivers operating vehicles while in the right-hand lane as they traveled south on the highway.

One witness said she saw several southbound LvCo drivers gripping the steering wheel, “…(they were) white-knuckled, with expressions of abject terror on their faces.  A passenger in one car had her eyes covered with her hands and appeared to be screaming,” the witness said.  “I’ve never in my life seen a driver from Leavenworth County driving in the right-hand lane.  It was terrifying.”

Another witness reported that at least one driver in the left lane was gesturing wildly to the drivers in the right lane to get back over to the “normal” driving lane. The driver was screaming, “What are you doing over there?” the witness said.

The station sent teams of reporters to the surrounding area to investigate the unusual event and eventually revealed that a possible rumor originating at the IHOP in Leavenworth, Kan. may have caused the chaos on K-7 Highway. Diners at the restaurant apparently overheard an out-of-towner describe K-7 as a “four-lane highway,” suggesting an additional lane going in both directions on the south and northbound highway.

Several LvCo residents left their partially eaten lunches behind in the booths as they rushed out to the parking lot to get to their vehicles, according to John Smith, the restaurant manager. “They were all very curious to see if there really is another lane on the right side of K-7. I personally can’t imagine believing in that ‘other’ lane,” Smith said.  “I wonder if they also believe in Santa Claus. They must feel like big stupid fools.”

“Those dummies are in for a shock.  I hope they at least come back later and pay for their damn lunches,” an IHOP waitress remarked.

One diner in the restaurant, a resident of Wyandotte County, expressed disbelief about the event. “It’s like they don’t realize that there is a left lane to be used for passing and turning while the right lane is used for cruising.  I mean, highways are designed like that  all over the country and these people have never noticed that there is another lane on the highway. I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said.

A few of the right-lane drivers returned to the restaurant later in the day to finish lunch and pay for their meals.  By some accounts the drivers appeared to be in something of a daze and at least two drivers were admitted to St. John’s emergency room where they were treated for extreme anxiety.

Reporters asked the LvCo police officer stationed at the entrance to the Wildwoods Mobile Home Park in Lansing, Kan., to shed some light on the brief and apparently horrifying phenomenon.  “I’m not sure what just happened,” officer Speedick said.  “I had almost met my afternoon quota of 49 speeding tickets when all of a sudden I noticed several drivers in another lane–over to the right of the left lane. Like, I mean, they were just driving along in that ‘other’ lane. I haven’t had any training on LvCo drivers who don’t use the left lane for regular driving. My mind is kind of blown here.  I’ll be glad when my shift is over.”

Two reporters remained on the scene for several hours to see if any other Leavenworth County drivers had heard the rumor about the “other” lane but there is no evidence that the rumor spread any further.  All indications are that highway traffic is back to normal on K-7 southbound. The “other” lane is being investigated by local FBI agents.  Check back here for updates to the story.

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An Actual Story of Tears and Exclamations!

cry-baby

Crying has become a bit of a social meme if you ask me—a verbal emoticon :'(. It all started with the World Wide Web, and let’s be honest, the sum total of all that amazing technology: Facebook (okay and Google). The natural evolution of all this immediate and 24/7 connectedness is the “News Feed,” which may include actual news from actual news organizations; local and international if you click on things just right.

More and more often, news actors post “news stories” on social media sites and there’s one in particular in my local area which I won’t name, that routinely includes headlines with editorial directives such as, “Grab a Tissue This Story is a Real Heart Wrencher!!!” And, “See if you Can Keep from Crying Over This Sad Story!!” And, perhaps the quintessential example of the degradation of journalism in America: “This Story Is So Sad!!” Crying is the foregone conclusion here. Reading the story is optional and I’m guessing most people don’t. Comment after comment on these stories reveals a veritable flood of emotion by way of sobbing and crying, “OMG! I’m so sad!!”

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                               Meme: White cop shot her puppy                                                                     Actual truth: found out the ice cream carton is empty.

 

In addition to verbal emoticons and thanks again to the constantly evolving language of internet-speak, social media chatterers also have millions of memes available to share feelings of inspiration, political disdain, and yes, everybody’s favorite: sadness :(.  My personal favorite, which invariably produces a crescendo of tears and heartbreak, are actual photos of sad images which are conveniently taken out of context to…you guessed it, make people cry. If I’ve read it once, I’ve read it a million times, “OMG I’m crying!!” posted after an obviously Photoshopped picture of a baby with feet growing out of its ear, or a dog with no head or torso, but thanks to the generous work of an unsung hero who built a robotic head and other essential organs for the pup it continues to survive, and just look at that neato remote-controlled dolly where the front half of the animal remains cutely stationary while the back legs run and frolic in delight, “That’s so precious!! I cried the whole time I was reading it!!” Continue reading

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Marriage and old Appliances

429-030Marriage. It’s a funny thing. I swore it off after the first time around but I eventually found another guy I figured I could tolerate. He liked me too, back then. Over the past 22 or so years our union has grown into a kind of mutual appreciation of the convenience and efficiency of coupling. That sounds a bit like a PVC elbow connection and I visualize the maze of grey and white pipes hanging under the ceiling joists in my basement. Not a very attractive image but fairly efficient. That’s our marriage. Functional. Efficient.

It’s not that we don’t love each other because I’m sure we do but I have news for the young bride and groom skipping down the aisle: love is a verb. I mean yeah, the early years are all raunchy sex and loud music but eventually the sidewalk needs shoveled, the shitter needs replaced and the chicken needs fried. Somebody invariably has to clean up somebody else’s vomit. That’s where love comes in because nobody does that stuff for fun.

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We’re certainly not romantic in any way, although, in spite of my insistence that he not go to any effort or spend any money I get the obligatory (six?) roses every February 14th.  He’s a good guy really and all told, I’m a not a great wife. Still, the relationship works out okay. We have a pretty decent marriage.

Today, however, was one of those times where the old buyer’s remorse (re)surfaces and makes me wonder what the hell I was thinking 22 years ago.

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Dinner Time: Circa 1968

Nothing’s gonna change my world
Jai Guru Deva OM

Eating dinner at my house was pretty much a thirty minute game of survival-of-the-2016-01-19-1453218206-9341429-martin_luther_king_jr__montgomery_arrest_1958most-invisible for the three of us kids. The cleverest of the bunch was able to duck under dad’s radar and avoid pressing whatever hot-button issue was brewing just below the surface for him. Often it was a racism issue or a sex or religion issue or something to do with a current popular song on the radio which fueled–in his mind– an increasing cultural depravity of the generation of anti-establishment teenagers who occupied his classrooms.

Dad hated religion but he hated what society became in its absence even more. I don’t know that he recognized the dichotomy there but it kept him embroiled in an emotional battle that he foisted on his owns kids as he constantly prodded and poked us about concepts he’d caught wind of from his students and from which he was determined to save us.

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